Exercises for Strengthening Your Little Finger

You need your little finger to make pinkie promises, among other things. Whether you're trying to regain movement in your finger after an injury or trying to strengthen your pinkie for an activity like rock climbing or guitar playing, these pinky finger strengthening exercises can help.

Keep your little fingers safe.
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Pinky Finger and Grip Strength

Doing pinky strength exercises can help you regain movement in your finger if you've injured it, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Exercising your finger can also help reduce pain and improve your flexibility. If you're recovering from an injury, be sure to check with your doctor to ensure these exercises are safe for you to do.

You can also do these exercises if you want to strengthen your pinky or improve your grip strength for other activities. An October 2014 study published in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders notes that grip strength can vary depending on individual factors like age, gender and diet.

The fact that your pinky finger is the smallest finger on your hand doesn't diminish its importance. A November 2014 study published in the Journal of Hand Surgery found that the pinky finger alone makes up 29 percent of your total grip strength, second only to your ring finger, which accounts for 31 percent.

Harvard Health Publishing notes that grip strength is important for a number of daily activities, including brushing your teeth, lifting a child, holding the steering wheel, opening a can and wielding a golf club. You may also require a strong pinky or better grip strength if you're a musician or rock climber.

Read more: Exercises for Tingling Fingers and Hands

Pinky Finger Strengthening Exercises

Kaiser Permanente lists exercises that can help strengthen your pinky finger and improve your grip.

Move 1: Finger Extension

  1. Place your hand on a table, with your palm facing downward.
  2. Lift your pinky finger as high as it can go and then lower it down to the table.
  3. Do the exercise eight to 12 times and then repeat with your other pinky.

Move 2: MP Extension

  1. Place your right hand on a table, with your palm facing upward.
  2. Place your left hand on top of it and wrap the fingers of your left hand around the thumb of your right hand, as though you're making a fist.
  3. Uncurl the fingers of your left hand from the base, so that only the top two joints of your fingers are bent, looking like a hook.
  4. Curl your fingers into the fist position again.
  5. Do the exercise eight to 12 times and then repeat on the other side.

Move 3: DIP Flexion

  1. Place your left thumb on your right pinky, below the joint closest to your fingernail.
  2. Place the other fingers of your left hand under your right pinkie.
  3. Bend your right pinky only at the joint closest to your fingernail.
  4. Hold for six seconds.
  5. Do the exercise eight to 12 times and then repeat on the other side.

Move 4: PIP Extension

  1. Place your left hand on a table, with your palm facing upward.
  2. Place your right hand on top of your left hand.
  3. Grasp the third bone of your right pinky (the one closest to your palm) with the fingers of your left hand.
  4. Bend and straighten the top two joints of your pinky.
  5. Do the exercise eight to 12 times and then repeat on the other side.

Move 5: Isolated PIP Flexion

  1. Place your right hand on a table, with your palm facing upward.
  2. Use the fingers of your left hand to hold down the index, middle and ring finger of your right hand, leaving your pinkie free to move.
  3. Raise your pinky as far as it can go.
  4. Hold for six seconds.
  5. Do the exercise eight to 12 times and then repeat on the other side.

Move 6: Imaginary Ball Squeeze

  1. Imagine you're holding a ball in your right hand; shape your hand accordingly.
  2. Squeeze the imaginary ball as hard as you can for about six seconds.
  3. Do the exercise eight to 12 times and then repeat on the other side.

Move 7: Towel Squeeze

  1. Roll up a towel and place it on a table.
  2. Grab the towel (while it's still on the table) and squeeze it for six seconds.
  3. Do the exercise eight to 12 times and then repeat on the other side.

Move 8: Towel Grab

  1. Take a small towel and fold it in half.
  2. Lay the folded towel flat on a table.
  3. Place your right hand flat on the towel, with your palm facing downward.
  4. Scrunch the towel in your hand, until your hand forms a fist.
  5. Straighten your fingers and push the towel back into its flattened position.
  6. Do the exercise eight to 12 times and then repeat on the other side.

Harvard Health Publishing says that repeatedly wringing wet towels and squeezing clay into a ball can also help improve your grip strength.

Read more: Exercises for Tendonitis in the Fingers

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